thefigureskatinglawyer goes way, WAY inside Golden Bear Skate 2012

September 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Clancy Pendergast’s men could not contain Braxton Miller and the Ohio State Buckeyes and Stanford did dirty things to University of Southern California’s offensive line. But in the end, my focus was on Cal Figure Skating this weekend.

Meghan Markle, not impressed with your lack of knowledge about Cal’s skating team.

The Golden Bears overcame the early registration date, broken skates, following the wrong beat in dance, doing wrong things in dance and overall goofiness to win this year’s edition of the Golden Bear Skate. UC Berkeley jumps to an early points lead in the regionals standing with three points, with Nationals-hopeful UCLA in second with two points and University of New Mexico, in its first year existence in third with one.

Someone give this kid a shovel because he diggs this victory.

Early drama followed the teams that say “bears” differently as the competition opened up with high and intermediate low team maneuvers. Rumor has it that the screws holding the blade to junior skater Matej Silecky‘s boot got loose, making it really hard to land the triple/double-double lutz combination, one of the six required elements in high team. Overall, the judges liked the UCLA team’s performance better, awarding them first place. After a break in which Skate St. Moritz, the local competition took over both sides of the rink, intermediate team maneuvers followed. The Bears (Janelle Unger, Kathryn Poniatowski, Amy Nguyen) score a victory via the disqualification of the Bruins team (Sarah Palaich, Alejandra Acosta, Therese Vesagas) for using a skater who has tested too high.

Oh shit.

The score within the competition so far: UC Berkeley 3, UCLA 3. Including warm-ups, 5 hours down, 10 to go.


The early registration deadline date affected many teams, including the Golden Bears. Some skaters did not have their long programs ready or the dance patterns entirely practiced but the team enjoyed their contributions regardless as the Golden Bears have time to fine-tune things before the Tiger Challenge on Oct. 27th.

For UCLA, those taking the final summer session courses have a week left to enjoy their summer before their fall quarter begins. The make-up of the team looked drastically different without notable junior skater Emily Chan and senior skater Mericien Venzon. Senior skater Evan Bender, senior skater Coral Chou, senior skater/ice dancer Amanda Sunyoto (older sibling of Cal sophomore Sean Sunyoto), graduate student Sarah Palaich, stalwart Joey Millet took on the unenviable task of going up against a really large Cal Figure Skating team.

Skaters from the University of Denver Pioneers and Colorado State Rams did not make the trip out to see the California girls (and Sean and Matej), making the upcoming Tiger Challenge and Pioneer Open (February 24th) a much more interesting logjam for points to qualify for Nationals in New Hampshire. Rylie Pepich, Maddie Moyer, Lena Nguyen, Karen Yamasaki, Lauren Montgomery, Cal FSC will see you ladies soon.

Three skaters from the University of New Mexico Figure Skating Club drove 18 hours since Friday morning out from Albuquerque to Oakland Ice. Impressive. Look for them to make the easier 6-hour drive to Colorado Springs and Denver for the next two competitions.


thefigureskatinglawyer got around to Oakland Ice shortly before the warm-up to the juniors ladies short program, as Cal skaters Gina DeNatale and Marissa Minovitz started off the individual events of the competition. DeNatale’s clean (from my point of view) skate was ultimately bested by Minovitz’s skate to an instrumental of The Eagles’ “Hotel California.” Oh well, five points for Cal. Junior men’s short program followed the ladies. Silecky had his skates fixed between the high team maneuvers and his event, fell on his triple axel attempt but landed a triple flip. Despite a rocky start to his intercollegiate debut, it was a great skate for him as he becomes a part of the future in Cal Figure Skating. Millet had trouble with a couple of the jumps but placed ahead of Silecky, while his teammate Bender took first with a cleaner routine.

The senior ladies short showcased skaters Laney DiggsSravani Kondapavulur (Yiruma’s “A River Flows In You”), Katrina Phan and UCLA’s Chou and Sunyoto. Rounding out the group of six was St. Moritz coach/member and skater Samantha Lew of Ohlone College. The standings: 1) Laney, 2) Sravani, 3) Coral, 4) Amanda, 5) Samantha, 6) Katrina. Cal receives nine points, five for Diggs’ first place finish and four for Kondapavulur’s second place result.

Memory’s a little hazy but no Cal skater participated in men’s preliminary freeskate. Congrats to Cal’s Janelle Unger for placing first in the ladies intermediate short program.

After five events, Golden Bears, 20. Bruins, 13. Lobos, 1. Ohlone College, 1.


Sean Sunyoto, sorry you missed your SLC mock Chemistry 3B midterm, buddy. If it makes you feel any better. You won junior and senior solo dances. I don’t think your sister will tell you how any of the introductions to the dance events will go anymore, bro. Samira Damavandi, always a kick-ass senior ice dancer placed third after the Kilian and Blues patterns and looks to improve on those standings in the next competitions.

Hannah Benet, strong showing in the preliminary solo dance event, despite an inadvertent chasse somewhere in there. You rocked.

Teressa Vellrath, thefigureskatinglawyer had no idea how good of an ice dancer you are. Coached by ice dancer and Salt Lake Olympian Beata Handra, Vellrath destroyed the Gold solo dance patterns, took about a 20 minute breather as seniors took the ice and had enough energy left to destroy the International solo dance patterns. Congratulations to her on great performances and best of luck to her when the challenge of high altitude is factored into the next competitions.


Just like that, thefigureskatinglawyer had to leave the rink to reach his great-grandmother’s 98th birthday dinner later that evening. Swag lady, that she is. He missed the intermediate, junior, senior ladies freeskates, as well as the junior men’s, junior ladies’ and senior ladies’ championship freeskates. Rumor has it that Michelle Hong, Alex Lin, Laney, Sravani, Matej and Marissa all did well.

John Harbaugh is digg-ing all of it. Not sure about Jim Schwartz though.

Felt good to come out and support Cal Figure Skating. If you didn’t come down to Oakland Ice today, you missed out on some good skating. Y U NO COME OUT WHEN YOU SAY YOU WANT TO WATCH FIGURE SKATING?!



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